Nuray Cokol, a 32-year-old nurse, met electrician Ozgur Kaya, 34, during the large anti-government protests in Istanbul’s Gezi Park last month. They fell in love, got engaged, and decided to exchange their wedding vows Saturday at the place they first met.
“Their wedding ceremony would have been incomplete without the Turkish police,” quipped the French news agency AFP, which then went on to report that police armed with batons showed up in full force, at first blocking the wedding party and protesters from entering the park, then employing a water cannon to disperse them. According to The Associated Press, police also fired tear gas in order to bar the protesters from entering the park.
The bride wore a white hard-hat over her veil to the nuptials which were anything but traditional.
"Long live the resistance, long live love," shouted the wedding guests and anti-government protesters before police dispersed the crowd estimated at 1,000.
Turkish media called Nuray and Ozgur's union “the love story of the uprising.”
The Associated Press quoted a report in the Turkish Dogan news agency that the clash began after police closed Gezi Park which is near Taksim Square in Istanbul. They then forced demonstrators to move to a pedestrian street and fired the water cannon.
“Police also chased some protesters down side streets and fired tear gas, according to the websites of Radikal and Hurriyet newspapers. No casualties were immediately reported,” the AP said.
Later the just-married bride and groom along with hundreds of protesters were allowed to enter Gezi Park for photographs. “But the crowd was soon again forced out of the park, apparently after it began to chant anti-government slogans,” the AP reported.
The demonstrations in Istanbul began at the end of May initially to contest an urban development plan but quickly turned into a protest against what critics call Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian rule.